June 28, 2007

Desperation - BTT

From Booking through Thursday:

What’s the most desperate thing you’ve read because it was the only available reading material?

If it was longer than a cereal box or an advertisement, did it turn out to be worth your while?

I was once stuck in the car repair shop waiting room without a book, and was forced to read Sports Illustrated, and some car repair shop management magazines. Maybe a "Money" or "Fortune" magazine, but that would not be as desperate. I learned a lot about the benefits of different kinds of tires, batteries, etc. from the magazines and the brochures around. I think I read the certificates on the wall, too. Needless to say, I keep a book in my car at all times now, because I don't want to be that desperate again!

June 27, 2007

so little time!

I am currently trying to read "Children of God" by Mary Doria Russell, but real life is interfering. I am studying for the bar exam, so posting will be very light for awhile. Bear with me; once the bar is done I'll have lots of time to read!

June 21, 2007

School Days, Golden Rule Days

Booking Through Thursday time again:

Since school is out for the summer (in most places, at least), here’s a school-themed question for the week:

1. Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?
2. How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

1. Yes, I have a lot of old school books! Most of them are law books (I just graduated in May and haven't decided which ones to keep forever and which ones to pass on). I also have all of my books from a Shakespeare class I took in undergrad, as well as most of the books we had to read for a seminar on surrealism, also from undergrad. I also still have my statistics book from undergrad, because you never know when you'll need it! Oh, and my Latin book from high school.

2. After graduation, the first thing I did was throw out all of my old notes and papers from law school. The ones from undergrad are long gone as well. I kept them for awhile, but eventually realized that it was silly to keep them. I think I still have some old papers going back to elementary school in a portfolio somewhere, but otherwise, not much. I do still have my law school notes on my laptop, but eventually those will get purged as well.

June 16, 2007

2 by Elizabeth Berg

I finished 2 by Elizabeth Berg this week, as part of my Summer Reading Challenge: Durable Goods, and What We Keep. I loved both of these, for many of the same reasons. Berg is so good at capturing the inner voice and thoughts of people, especially young women. She captures the relationship between siblings, and between children and parents. She also captures that moment when you realize your parent(s) are not perfect: that they are human, with their own wants and needs separate from their children. I discovered that Durable Goods has two sequels, so I just ordered the next one. I hope it is as good as the first, but I am delighted that we get to find out more about what happened to these characters.

June 14, 2007

BTT: Dessert First

Booking Through Thursday

1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?
2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

1. Yes, I do this very often. In fact, it is one of the reasons I very seldom read mysteries, because I can't restrain myself from peeking at the end. (Audiobooks are a great solution for this for me.) Sometimes I'm just curious, sometimes I just want to make sure the ending is worth reading the rest of the book for, sometimes it's just habit! I don't feel it ruins the books for me - I do still read the rest of the book most of the time. I like seeing the end point, and wondering how we will get there! There are some books I manage to have some self control: Harry Potter, and some books if the author is really good at doling out bits of suspense, I'll let them carry me along at their own pace, and not skip ahead. (I'm thinking of "The Sparrow" here.)
2. Doesn't apply!

June 11, 2007

The Plague Tales - Ann Benson

I have to admit that I only read about half of this before giving up. (In keeping with my prior post on the topic here.) By all rights I should have loved this book. It has two of my favorite plotlines: The Middle Ages and a terrible epidemic. Unfortunately, the history part did not ring true to me, and the contemporary "epidemic" wasn't much to speak of, and was not developed enough for me. I actually think this would make a great movie (more visual, less stilted dialogue). And I tried to slog all the way through, but I just couldn't do it.

June 9, 2007

Somebody Else's Children - John Hubner & Jill Wolfson

This is not on my summer reading list, but it caught my eye, and then held my interest. The authors are journalists who spent a year following the juvenile court of one judge in California. They were allowed access to records and to the families and children, and compiled a compelling story of several of the children seen in the court. The stories are heart-wrenching and illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the system. I thought the account was balanced, yet realistic. The final chapter offers suggestions of what people can do to get involved, such as volunteer in the court system. I'm putting this on my keeper shelf!

The Mermaid Chair - Sue Monk Kidd

This is my first book for the Summer Reading Challenge, and I did enjoy it. I didn't enjoy it as much as "The Secret Life of Bees" by the same author, but it was still a fast read and kept my interest. I'm sure there is lots of symbolism with the ocean and mermaids, etc., but I am frankly not in the mood for deep analysis. I liked the characters, the premise was interesting, and it held my interest for a few bus rides. That's all I'm asking for my summer reading, and this one sufficed.

June 7, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

It's that time again!

Booking Through Thursday

Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.

If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?

I can think of two: Roger Zelazny and David Gerrold.

Zelazny - not necessarily for any more Amber novels, but maybe for more of his great stand-alone novels, like the early works. I'm thinking of "Doorways in the Sand" as an example.

David Gerrold - He hasn't stopped writing, but we've been waiting for the next War Against the Chtorr novel for 15 years! According to his blog he's writing it, and there is a publisher, but come on - 15 years is a long time to wait!

June 2, 2007

Summer Reading Challenge

I'm going to give the Summer Reading challenge a try, even though I am also studying for the bar exam. So here is my modest list:

The Plague Tales - Ann Benson
The Mermaid Chair - Sue Monk Kidd
Children of God - Mary Doria Russell
What We Keep - Elizabeth Berg
Durable Goods - Elizabeth Berg
The Book of Ruth - Jane Hamilton
Harry Potter 7 - J.K. Rowling
The Hours - Michael Cunningham

I will probably read more than that, but at least it is a goal!

The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell

This book is amazing. The basic plot is that in 2019 we detect radio signals from a nearby system. The Jesuits decide to mount a private expedition. In 2060, one survivor returns. The question is then: what happened? The author manages to interweave two narratives - the past and the present - seamlessly. She builds suspense, dropping tiny hints about what happened, slowly revealing the horror they experienced. Along the way we must deal with heavy philosophical problems: what is God's will? What is our purpose? How do we deal with an entirely alien civilization? What if our actions have unforeseeable consequences?

I found this book to be completely absorbing, and I was very sorry to finish it. Of course, I have learned there is a sequel, which I must get my hands on as soon as possible.